Attending Caledon School In Gadsden, Al

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Richard G.'s Comment
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I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

Richard G.'s Comment
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Just finished the first day at the Caledon school in Gadsden. Pretty easy first day. Got all the packets, filled out some forms, went over all the information, then went for our physical...passed with flying colors. The class size is very small, we started out with 11 and ended the day with 9. Nobody popped positive on the whiz quiz, one person thought he was, so he was told that he needed to have a "family emergency". The other got sent home for falling the vision part of the physical. He will be able to come back in a week, after he gets his glasses.

I will say this, it's a very relaxed atmosphere, the classroom instructor is really good and quite funny. The rooms that they put students in are REALLY nice. They put you up in the Fairfield Inn, which is owned by Marriot and they are NICE. Unfortunately, I live here in town, so I get to miss out on that....lol. When Caledon tells you they will pay for everything, they mean it. You don't pay any of the fees for the permit or the cdl testing. At the beginning of each week, they give you an $80 prepaid credit card, even if you leave in town, which is pretty cool.

All in all, I believe that I made a great choice to go with Caledon. The school appears to be a little unorganized, but it has only been up and running for six months, so it's to be expected. We were told that we would have 4 driver-trainers for the time we spend on the driving range. We were given quite a bit of homework tonight, but I was expecting that.

To those that are worried about the whole sleep apnea fiasco.....apparently in Alabama, you don't have to worry about it. I was never weighed and my neck was never measured. They asked me my weight and I just guesstimated (I have weighed myself in years...lol) They just have you **** in a cup, check your blood pressure, and a quick exam by the doctor and I was given a two year card.

I will check back tomorrow after day two.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Just finished the first day at the Caledon school in Gadsden. Pretty easy first day. Got all the packets, filled out some forms, went over all the information, then went for our physical...passed with flying colors. The class size is very small, we started out with 11 and ended the day with 9. Nobody popped positive on the whiz quiz, one person thought he was, so he was told that he needed to have a "family emergency". The other got sent home for failing the vision part of the physical. He will be able to come back in a week, after he gets his glasses.

I will say this, it's a very relaxed atmosphere, the classroom instructor is really good and quite funny. The rooms that they put students in are REALLY nice. They put you up in the Fairfield Inn, which is owned by Marriot and they are NICE. Unfortunately, I live here in town, so I get to miss out on that....lol. When Caledon tells you they will pay for everything, they mean it. You don't pay any of the fees for the permit or the cdl testing. At the beginning of each week, they give you an $80 prepaid credit card, even if you live in town, which is pretty cool.

All in all, I believe that I made a great choice to go with Caledon. The school appears to be a little unorganized, but it has only been up and running for six months, so it's to be expected. We were told that we would have 4 driver-trainers for the time we spend on the driving range. We were given quite a bit of homework tonight, but I was expecting that.

To those that are worried about the whole sleep apnea fiasco.....apparently in Alabama, you don't have to worry about it. I was never weighed and my neck was never measured. They asked me my weight and I just guesstimated (I have weighed myself in years...lol) They just have you **** in a cup, check your blood pressure, and a quick exam by the doctor and I was given a two year card.

I will check back tomorrow after day two.

I corrected my spelling errors...need to proof read next time.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 2

It was a very long day going over everything we need to know for the permit tests. We lost 2 more students, so we are done to 8 for our class. We started the day at 8 am and went to 5 pm going over the General Knowledge portion of the CDL Manual. I must say, there is A LOT of information there.

Jake, the instructor is fantastic. He throws in enough humor and personal stories from being on the road to really make the class interesting. With all that information, it can really get tedious and he is great at avoiding that. He is also pretty liberal with the breaks, so we can get the blood flowing so we don't get drowsy just sitting there all day.

Day 3

We finished up the General Knowledge, finished with Air Brakes, Combinations, Double and Triples, and Tankers today. He gave us practice tests for all 5 and we all passed them. We go for our permit testing tomorrow and we are all pretty confident. Jake seems to genuinely care about how well we do. Even though he is strictly the class room instuctor, he is kept appraised of how the students have done with the driving portions of the CDL testing. As he gets notified of them passing, he can see him getting happier and happier. As they return, they all stop by and thank him personally, which is pretty freaking awesome.

Found out today that he is and will be the only classroom instuctor, that is why they keep the classes small and only start new classes every two weeks. I was able to confirm that there are four driver-instructors for the range, so with 8 people in our class, that is 2 students for each instructor.

For the permit test tomorrow, if we fail any of the tests, we can retake them on the same day. In fact, we can retake them twice a day for 7 days, so that is 14 attempts for each test.

On our way out the door, he gave us more practice test, with different questions on them, for us to use as study guides. I think that between the practice tests, Jake's instructions, and The High Road Online CDL Training Program, I will do just fine tomorrow.

Until then.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Got home early today, I passed all 5 tests and got my permit today. We had one person who couldn't take the tests because of an unpaid ticket, she will got home today to pay it and be back on Monday (the company is paying for the bus tickets). The other six students have to go back tomorrow to try again. Most of them, just failed one and will have an easy time. There is one that failed all 5 and he is very worried.

I start on the range tomorrow and I can't wait!

For anyone that cares, the company does in fact pay all your testing fees. Our driver was there with a company credit card and it was smoking by the end of the day.

Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 5

Went to the range this morning....ummm...it was awfully cold. Started learning the Pre-trip inspection. That is fairly straight forward and is mostly memorization. After a half a day of that, we went back to the classroom and started learning about using paper logs. I got the idea to use my phone and take pictures of the truck we use for the pre-trip inspection , I can practice it in my free time. I will see how that goes.

I believe on Monday, I move the straight line backing range. I watched them on that range briefly today, because the class size is so small, each student gets a couple of hours to practice it, which is pretty cool.

All in all, it was a pretty productive day.

See ya Monday.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Pepper's Comment
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Thanks for keeping us informed. I will be starting in Laredo on February 16th, so hopefully, we will see each other down the road. Pepper

Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for keeping us informed. I will be starting in Laredo on February 16th, so hopefully, we will see each other down the road. Pepper

I'm sure we will and I will buy you dinner lol.

Pepper's Comment
member avatar

I'm sure we will and I will buy you dinner lol.

Careful! I might take you up on that! :P

Be safe and do well in class.

Today, I have chores to do before I sit down and get to studying the CDL book. Then I will be making notes and doing my very best, like I know you are doing.

Pepper

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm sure we will and I will buy you dinner lol.

Careful! I might take you up on that! :P

Be safe and do well in class.

Today, I have chores to do before I sit down and get to studying the CDL book. Then I will be making notes and doing my very best, like I know you are doing.

Pepper

It would be my pleasure.

The best advice I can give you is just remain calm. Everything might seem overwhelming, but if you just stay calm and keep your wits about you, you will do great.

If you need anything, I'm right here.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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